Major Papers


Climate change, local government, City of Athens, Town of Tecumseh, greenhouse gases, adaptation and mitigation policies


Climate change is undoubtedly one of the biggest environmental threats of the twenty-first century. Recent developments have shown that we are highly vulnerable to climate change. Climate change is predicted to have harmful, and permanent consequences on the planet and the entire environment. Yet federal and national governments around the world are struggling to formulate policy initiatives to slow down or become resilient against the changes in the climate. The research goal of this paper is to understand the impact of local governments/municipalities on climate change and why their inclusion in the conversation on climate change response is important. Local government control of areas that include energy-use, land-use planning, waste and wastewater, disaster response, and transport makes them well-positioned to tackle climate change.

The impact of municipal governments on climate change are examined through US and Canadian case studies. Specifically, the paper examines the City of Athens, Ohio and the Town of Tecumseh, Ontario. The size, geography, population and the federal structure of the City of Athens and the Town of Tecumseh makes them comparable case studies for this study. The emergence of voluntary official plans by both municipalities despite the lack of guidance from federal and national governments demonstrate that local governments can be relied upon as an integral player in tackling climate change. This paper finds that local governments should be included in a multi-level approach to climate change to force more local progress and influence future action on regional, state, and national climate change.

Primary Advisor

Dr. John Sutcliffe


Dr. Stephen Brooks

Program Reader


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Political Science

Document Type

Internship Paper

Convocation Year